I'm embarrassed by our position in the bottom two, admits Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee
MARK McGhee has spoken of his personal embarrassment at seeing Bristol Rovers in the League Two relegation zone.
In a frank and honest interview ahead of tomorrow's visit to York City, the experienced Pirates boss revealed how hard he has been hit by the team's failure to live up to their pre-season billing as likely promotion contenders.
McGhee, pictured, even admitted to keeping his head down when watching other matches at the moment for fear of being recognised.
"As manager in our position, I am going to games like the Hereford v Cheltenham FA Cup replay in the week almost hoping people don't speak to me," he said.
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"I feel embarrassed. I don't want them patronising me or pitying me. I just want to get Bristol Rovers out of this situation as soon as possible and eventually into a higher league
"I think the club should be embarrassed to be in League Two, let alone sitting in the bottom two.
"I mean that in the best possible way because there are really good people and teams in our division. But there are three tiers above us and Bristol Rovers should be in one of them,
"We have an opportunity to get out of the bottom two by winning at York and, if we do, I want to make sure we are never in that situation again.
"I never imagined in a million years that at any stage of this season we would be in the relegation zone.
"It's a shock to my system, as it is to everyone who is associated with the club."
McGhee hopes Rovers can start their resurgence at Bootham Crescent tomorrow against a York side with only one win in nine games.
"They pass the ball, but are not blessed with a huge amount of pace," he said. "They will be compact and dogged. And, looking at our recent form, they will be confident of making home advantage pay.
"We have just had probably the most disappointing two back-to-back results and performances of our season because going into the Wycombe game we had a few players back from injury and that gave us renewed confidence.
"It didn't show on the pitch and the defeat by Dagenham was even more disappointing because it was at home.
"My job is to see the positives and there were some in that game. I know we can do a lot better and I am doing all I can to drag that improvement in performance out of the players.
"I don't sense that they are in any way demoralised. What I need to do is use the disappointment and frustration they are feeling to get them angry and aggressive.
"We have no new injuries and Matty Lund is available again after suspension, which is a big positive.
"He will play in midfield, although he has also done a good job in defence. We think Danny Woodards will get better with games after his long injury lay-off, so we can expect him to hold down the right-back position."
Cian Bolger is expected to play in a reserve game next week and could be available for the League Two home match against Rotherham United on the Saturday.
"When Cian rejoined us at the start of the season prior to his injury, he looked bigger and stronger," said McGhee. "I was excited by what he was going to bring to the team and the options he would give us in both boxes.
"We lost that very quickly with his injury. We still have to see how ready he is when he regains full fitness, but I am certainly looking forward to having him back."
If Bolger shows no ill-effects of his lay-off with a knee problem, Rovers will not extend Guy Branston's loan from Aldershot beyond the initial month.
Another loan recruit, Tom Eaves, will return to Bolton Wanderers for a couple of days' training next week, during which he will discuss his future with boss Dougie Friedman.
McGhee is keen to retain the striker for the second half of the campaign, but must wait to hear the outcome of the talks.
Meanwhile, the manager has confirmed Wayne Brown will be leaving Rovers in January after rejecting a contract offer.
"Wayne has decided the offer we made him was not enough, either in time or terms," said McGhee. "I don't have an infinite budget and need to make room within it to sign new players.
"We are going to need several in the January window and we are already working hard towards that.
"We don't want young and inexperienced lads. We want players proven at least at our level and able to make an instant impact."
Derek Riordan's future with Rovers is also in doubt. "He not only has to do a little bit more, but also convince me of his desire to be here," said McGhee.
"It has been a difficult period for Derek because his wife has had a baby and there has been some legal stuff going on. All that has had an impact on him while he is living away from home and I have to take it into account before deciding what to do in the New Year."